P.3 A better Band-aid
The general public are not experts in wound care. As a result, minor cuts and scrapes can get infected requiring medical attention and antibiotics. In an ideal world, bandages, the first line
of defense in any minor wound, are changed at the correct time, fit wound edges exactly and provide negative pressure – the ideal environment for wounds to heal.
Current off the shelf bandages (Band-Aid being the most famous name brand) typically comprise of an overlying adhesive layer and a rectangular thin non-adherent pad which can saturate. Wounds heal best in a moist environment and saturated bandages are no longer moist – they are wet. Common bandages also do not provide negative pressure nor do they conform to the exact contours of the wound.
A wound care device typically used in hospitals is the vacuum-assisted closure or wound VAC.
A wound VAC applies negative pressure to a sponge which is placed inside or over a wound.
A wound VAC draws out fluids from the wound and typically requires a patient to carry around a battery powered mechanical device and a container for wound drainage. Wound VACs are
expensive and require specialized training to operate.
There exists an opportunity to develop an off the shelf product that combines the best of both wound care technologies. As a family physician I wish to minimize wound infections and
maximize wound healing. An affordable, easy to use bandage that fits exactly to the size of the wound, that provides visual feedback when saturated and, if possible, applies negative pressure to the wound would not only reduce the number of days individuals suffer from wounds (lower morbidity), but would also prevent severe infections and save lives.